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Provincial Politics

Grant MacEwan's venture into politics occurred largely because of his disappointing experience with the Council of Beef Producers. The council was not progressing as he had hoped, and he was becoming increasingly unenthusiastic about the nature of work involved. When he moved into civic politics, city council provided him with an opportunity to serve higher levels of government. Such was the case when MacEwan's name was entered at a Liberal provincial nomination convention to contest Calgary seats in the upcoming in the 1955 provincial election.

MacEwan spoke at the conference to a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd. By the end of the night, he was nominated to run in the six-seat constituency of Calgary, thus marked his entry into provincial politics. MacEwan maintained his seat on Calgary city council while also serving as a member of the legislative assembly, much to the chagrin of Calgary's other aldermen. The provincial election showed tremendous promise for the Liberal Party as they gained seats and strengthened their presence in the assembly.

While MacEwan represented the Liberal Party in Edmonton he pursued policies that reflected his interests and much of his writing. For instance, he encouraged the provincial government to plant more trees to improve air quality and to replenish the diminishing numbers due to increased activity in the forestry sector. In addition, he wanted scientific surveys conducted on soil erosion, wildlife, and non-renewable resources. MacEwan was deeply concerned about the natural environment. While balancing both jobs, MacEwan continuously demonstrated his commitment to hard work by also researching and writing on Western Canadian history.

In 1958, MacEwan was voted by his peers to take over leadership of the provincial Liberal Party. MacEwan and his fellow delegates wanted change in the province and desperately sought to remove the Social Credit Party from power. MacEwan asserted that the Social Credit Party had no direction and lacked any clear policy. However, the 1959 provincial election proved to be a disaster for the Liberals; they were reduced to one seat in the assembly while their leader failed to win his own riding. Faced with yet another political defeat MacEwan resigned from politics the following year.  Critics commented how partisan politics did not suit MacEwan; he lacked the killer instinct and cutthroat mentality often associated with political manoeuvrings. Instead, MacEwan turned to the writing which was developing into a passion. During this political hiatus, he produced a number of important books including Entrusted To My Care, a sweeping account on safeguarding Canada's natural resources.

Resources

Macdonald, R.H. Grant MacEwan: No Ordinary Man. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1979.


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